Sometimes I’m pretty sure my kids have this whole Christ-following thing figured out better than I do. In the middle of our morning rush, my 5-year-old appeared by my side and asked, “Mommy, is that the shirt you die in?”
“What?!” I looked down, suddenly to remember I was sporting one of our church’s cerulean blue baptism shirts.
“Uhhh…yeah, kind of, buddy,” I chuckled to myself. Not only does the kid have more spiritual insight than me, but his timing is impeccable.
You see, I’ve been thinking a lot about my life, and what it means to be a Christian. I’ve been thinking about the fact that, despite being one for 25 years, my life still so often looks very much unlike Christ’s. Finally, I’ve been thinking a lot about baptism-- the outward sign of what has taken place in our hearts as believers.
Romans 6:4 says, “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” In baptism, becoming completely submerged under the water represents death to ourselves— our “flesh,” our desires, our plans, our sin; and coming up out of it represents being raised to new life in Christ. So my son was correct; being submerged in water, in the act of baptism, was the death of my old life.
But here’s the thing about baptism: notice I said, “completely submerged.”
Just as we don’t just dip a toe, or a hand, or even just our head in the water-- but all of us, likewise life in Christ requires that we be “all in.”
It’s so difficult because it’s not logical. When Jesus came He brought a new kind of normal, and in His book, less is more:
The more you give the more you gain (Proverbs 11:24).
The more life you give the more you find (Matthew 10:39).
I say I’m a Christ-follower, and yet I’ve really only surrendered parts of my life to Him, while holding back others.
God, I’ll follow you to here, but no further.
God, I’ll give this much, but no more.
God, I’ll spend this much time, but no more.
God, I’ll sacrifice this, but not that.
God, you can change these parts of me, but not those.
I say I’ve given my life to Him and yet how often am I stingy with my time, my talents and my treasures? Far more often than I’d like to admit. Can you relate?
The thing we need to remember is that, as Christians, we cannot compartmentalize our lives. We cannot keep some areas to ourselves and surrender others. God calls us to be all in. Surrender all.
Dear friend, what are you holding out of the water today-- In what area of your life should you surrender complete control? Are you holding back time that He’s called you to volunteer or money that He’s asked you to give? Are you “stuck” in life because you’re not willing to take the step He’s asked you to take?
It’s not easy to be “all in”— it’s counterintuitive to our human nature.
But know this: Our Father is trustworthy and faithful.
The truth I’ve found (and I’m trusting you will too) is that God is able to do infinitely more with the surrendered areas of our lives than we could ever ask or imagine— or do ourselves. Today let’s go before God, hands open in complete trust and surrender to His will and His way and say, “God, I’m all in."
Word of the Day:
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. Mark 8:34 (NLT)
Father, I know you’ve called me to surrender my life to your will, your way, but so often I find myself holding back. Thank you that your plans for me are better than I could ever imagine for myself. Help me to push through the fear so that I may learn to trust you and be “all in.” In Jesus’ name, Amen
Author: Katie Gibson